Surviving a Layover

  • by Mike Wargo
Surviving a Layover

A few weeks ago, I had to fly from Nashville back to my hometown of South Bend, IN. For both the trips there and back, I had a layover. The first for nearly two hours in Detroit. The second for one hour in Charlotte, NC.

Now I’ve been stuck on multiple layovers before for much longer. And with those, it’s easy to justify leaving the airport and explore the layover city while you’re waiting around. But that’s harder to do when you’ve only got a few hours to kill.

On these shorter layovers, there are a few tricks to making these hours not just bearable, but actually somewhat enjoyable.

Keep Your Stuff Charged

If you have a layover at a mildly busy airport, finding an outlet can be next to impossible. Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy solution: portable charger in your carry-on. I’ve been burned before with a dead cell phone and unable to find an outlet, which is really bad when your phone has your boarding pass on it. A good portable charger will fully charge your phone within a few hours for all your texting, streaming, and Candy Crush-playing needs. Speaking of streaming…

Get the Netflix Mobile App

Most airports charge by the hour for Wi-Fi, so if you’re spending more than an hour in the airport, it can get expensive. And they charge extra for streaming quality Internet. So if you really want to kill time with a movie or show, just download the Netflix mobile app and then the night before heading to the airport, download some stuff to watch on your phone. I got caught up on Marvel’s Daredevil while waiting in Charlotte. There’s plenty of stuff to choose from.


It’s honestly ridiculous how much a cocktail costs both at the airport and on the plane. And if you’re like me, getting a little buzz going before flying makes the journey go much smoother. So what’s a drinker to do? Tiny bottles of liquor, of course!

You know those little shooters by the register at liquor stores? Buy as many as you think you’ll need and stuff them into a clear plastic quart sized bag (you only get to bring one bag). Stick those bad boys in your carry-on and now you’re set to tie one on in the airport. Grab a mixer at one of the convenience stores in the airport and save yourself some money.

Research Restaurants in the Airport

When I was a kid, most of the airports I went to had shitty fast food and little else to eat. But now, there are some pretty respectable eateries in airports! I was surprised to enjoy a pretty impressive bowl of ramen at a Detroit airport.

Check the airports website the day before flying and see what’s good to eat near or on the way to your next gate. There’s usually a map to show you where everything is.

What are some of your layover hacks? Let us know in the comments!


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